Year: 2010

Press Release: Portland Attorney Gilion Dumas Elected Cascade Policy Institute Board Member

Portland, OR – Gilion Dumas is the newest board member of Cascade Policy Institute. Dumas is a partner at the Portland law firm O’Donnell Clark & Crew. The Cascade Board of Directors elected Dumas on December 10.

“For years, I’ve admired Cascade’s tireless efforts to champion economic and personal liberty,” Dumas remarked. “I look forward to working with the Board and staff to promote ideas for Oregon that foster freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility.”

Cascade’s board members and staff are excited that Dumas has joined the Cascade team. “Gilion’s expertise in small business ownership will strengthen Cascade’s capacity to develop strategies for new job formation – which is the most important challenge now facing the state,” stressed John A. Charles Jr., Cascade President and CEO.

Dumas joins seven current Cascade board members, including Chairman William B. Conerly, Ph.D., Michael L. Barton, Ph.D., Larry W. Dennis, Sr., Jon Egge, David Gore, William Udy, and John A. Charles, Jr.

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Virginia, Don’t Stop Believing in Yourself

Do you believe in Santa Claus? By the time most of us stop believing in a literal Santa Claus, we are well on our way to believing in a figurative one that goes by the name welfare state or big government.

Have trouble feeding your family? Santa State can help. Need affordable housing or health care? Welfare Santa to the rescue.

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Renewable Energy Woes

Todd WynnQuickPoint!

Renewable Energy Woes

by Todd Wynn

Earlier in the decade, the City of Portland and the State of Oregon set goals for the government to reach 100% renewable energy by 2010. Both failed miserably. Portland reached only nine percent and the state only one or two percent. What was the reason for failure? According to state officials, the goal was unrealistic and too costly.

Although fiscal reality blocked the government’s goal, another goal will directly affect Oregon households. In 2007, the Oregon legislature imposed a Renewable Portfolio Standard. Major electric utilities are forced to provide 25% of their energy from renewable sources (excluding hydroelectricity) by 2025. This means all ratepayers are forced to pay for renewable energy whether they want or can afford it.

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“Stabilizing” University of Oregon Funding – At the Expense of Everything Else

Cascade CommentaryGeorge Leef

“Stabilizing” University of Oregon Funding – At the Expense of Everything Else

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By George Leef

Almost everyone has to worry about money. A worker’s income depends on satisfying bosses, clients, patients or even voters. Businesses worry about earning enough to cover their costs—i.e., whether they pass “the test of the market.”

And most educational institutions have to worry about money. University presidents lose sleep over the possibility that enrollments might fall, donations decline or politicians decide to spend less on them and more on other things.

Life would be a lot nicer if you didn’t have to worry about money.

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“Superman” Sets Off Education Debate, But CSF Kids Learn Today

This week, Parade Magazine published its first-ever list of “Personalities of the Year.” Top of the list: “the kids of Waiting for ‘Superman’ Five students who kicked off a national debate about education.” The film Waiting for ‘Superman’, described as an “early favorite to win an Academy Award,” portrays the plight of low-income parents trying to break cycles of poverty and low achievement by sending their kids to charter schools.

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Renewable Energy Failure: Why Government Mandates Don’t Work and What They Will Do to Our Economy

By Torey Holderith and Todd Wynn

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Here is an excerpt:

Renewable energy has long been hailed as the cure-all for Oregon’s economy. “Good policy, good for economic development, good for the environment,” the Oregon Department of Energy declared. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Good public policy enables long-term achievement while also enabling short-term success. The reality of the energy policies coming out of the State of Oregon and the City of Portland is that they do neither. (more…)

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City of Portland and State of Oregon Fail to Achieve 2010 Renewable Energy Goals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Todd Wynn
Vice-President
Cascade Policy Institute
503-242-0900
todd@cascadepolicy.org
www.cascadepolicy.org

City of Portland and State of Oregon Fail to Achieve 2010 Renewable Energy Goals

Download full report here.

Portland, OR, December 14, 2010 – In the last decade the City of Portland and the State of Oregon set goals for the government to reach 100% renewable energy use by 2010.

Nothing regarding the progress of reaching these goals has been released to date.

Why? Because both entities have failed miserably due to the goals being unrealistic from the start and the reality of fiscal responsibility finally setting in. (more…)

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Biggest Bang for Your Buck? A Closer Look at Portland’s $548 Million School Modernization Proposal

Lindsay BerschauerCascade Commentary

Biggest Bang for Your Buck?
A Closer Look at Portland’s $548 Million School Modernization Proposal

by Lindsay Berschauer

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The Portland Public School District held a public hearing December 1 concerning the $548 million School Modernization Bond Measure it hopes to place on the May 2011 ballot.

The District argues that such an expensive bond, the largest local bond in Oregon state history, is necessary to tear down and rebuild only eight of the 85 schools in the District. For those eight schools, they have allocated $372 million. The other $176 million is earmarked for minor upgrades to other schools and paying off previous school improvement debt that the District has incurred. The goal? The District argues that the new schools will increase property values in Portland, improve student achievement and behavior and increase enrollment. But in this down economy, are Portland residents getting the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to the cost value of these “rebuild” schools?

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Get trained by Steve Buckstein on the Oregon Budget!

Below is a Letter from Richard P. Burke

As you many know, the Oregon legislature will be back in session in early January.  But already, our senators and representatives are meeting, caucasing, and feeling each other out on possible budget deals that could be struck in their efforts to deal with Oregon’s $3 billion budget gap.  NOW is the perfect time for grass roots action, when their minds are still open and they have the most flexibility.  Now is the time to lobby them to steer clear of new taxes and reduce government spending.
For this purpose, I have organized a training conference and celebration to take place on Saturday, December 11th at 12:30pm.  The event will last until 8pm and will include dinner.  The conference will be at the Shilo Inn at the Portland Airport, located at 11707 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220.  I am organizing this event under the auspices of the non-partisan “Committee for a “l”ibertarian Majority” (CLM).  The event is being supported by Americans for Prosperity, the Oregon 9-12 Project, and Cascade Policy Institute.  Full details are in the attached event flyer.

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Help CSF Win $200,000 Award from American Express

Kathryn Hickok

The Children’s Scholarship Fund, the national organization that provides matching funding to Cascade for the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program, has been presented with a wonderful opportunity.

Support the Children’s Scholarship Fund today by voting online for CSF to win $200,000 from American Express.

All you have to do is join Members Project by registering a username and e-mail address and cast a vote for CSF each week starting Monday, November 29, through Sunday, February 20.  You do not have to be an American Express cardholder to join and vote. After the three-month voting period is complete, Members Project will tally the votes and announce the winners.

To join Members Project and start casting your votes, go to: http://www.takepart.com/membersproject/vote now!

CSF is currently #1 in the education category, but we need you to keep voting to win! And please tell your friends and associates who want to help low-income kids get a head start in life with a good education! Thank you so much!

For more information, check out the CSF blog.

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Health Care Reform: Then and Now

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint12-8-10Steve.mp3]

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by Steve Buckstein

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In 1993, syndicated columnist Mike Royko had some choice words about Hillary Clinton’s national health care reform. Seventeen years later his words seem just as appropriate for Barack Obama’s plan. Here’s an extended quote:

“I listened to much of her testimony about how and why the health care program would be terrific for all of us. And I couldn’t figure out what the heck she was talking about. It was a deadly combination of bureaucratic jargon and legal jargon. And if any congressman claims to have understood it, he has been in Washington too long.

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John Charles on Populations TV

Special thanks to Populations for inviting Cascade to be on the program. Be sure to check out their other videos by visiting their website.

Click “Continue Reading” to Watch the Full Video

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A Free Market Approach to Sustainability

Karla Kay EdwardsQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint%202-7-10Karla.mp3]

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by Karla Kay Edwards

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Using the free market to drive industry change is foreign to many, but it has been proven over time a much more effective way to achieve change than a top-down regulatory approach. Case in point, Walmart recently announced its new sustainable agriculture policy. The business behemoth is the United States’ largest purveyor of groceries, and therefore, one of the largest customers for the agriculture and food processing industries around the world.

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Run Government Like a Business?

Steve Buckstein
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint11-24-10Steve.mp3]

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By Steve Buckstein

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Should we run government like a business? While it sounds nice, it may be impossible.

The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises told us why in his classic 1944 book entitled Bureaucracy. He explained that only through the pricing mechanism of private markets can we direct goods and services to their highest-valued uses.

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A Closer Look at Portland’s $548 Million School Modernization Proposal: Biggest Bang for Your Buck?

Lindsay BerschauerCascade Commentary

The Portland Public School District will hold a public hearing tonight (12/1) at 5:30 pm concerning its $548 million School Modernization Bond Measure.

The District is arguing that such an expensive bond, the largest local bond in Oregon state history, is necessary to tear down and rebuild only eight of the 85 schools in the District. For those eight schools, they have allocated $372 million. The other $176 million is earmarked for minor upgrades to other schools and paying off previous school improvement debt that the District has incurred. The goal? The District argues that the new schools will increase property values in Portland, improve student achievement and behavior and increase enrollment. But in this down economy, are Portland residents getting the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to the cost value of these “rebuild” schools?

The following is the testimony Lindsay Berschauer has prepared for the public hearing.

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Federal Land Management Agencies Hinder Rural Entrepreneurs

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

Federal Land Management Agencies Hinder Rural Entrepreneurs

by Karla Kay Edwards

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Rural communities throughout Oregon provide a cultural foundation for entrepreneurs. One of the reasons for this is that folks living in rural areas often find it necessary to improvise when solving a problem rather than running to the nearest store. This necessity to maximize available resources generates small business innovations in rural communities. However, it is often government bureaucracy that stifles the commercialization or growth of many of these small businesses.

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A Mother’s Plea for School Choice

KristinaRibaliphoto

  A Mother’s Plea for School Choice

By Kristina Ribali

Click here for a pdf version of this commentary.

I received a call this week from a concerned mother in our local school district. I listened as she described the troubles that her 10-year-old son has been having in school. He’s falling behind, he’s been bullied, and he’s so discouraged and overwhelmed that he wants to quit school altogether. I wish I could say that this is the first of these types of calls that I’ve received, but unfortunately it’s not. In the last two years alone, I’ve received over a dozen calls similar to this. (more…)

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John Charles applauded by Union members

It seems EVERYONE is finally realizing the importance of what John has been saying.

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Colossal Bond, Colossal Mistake

Lindsay BerschauerQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint11-17-10Lindsay.mp3]

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By Lindsay Berschauer

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The Portland Public School District announced last week that it is seeking a bond measure to the tune of $548 million, targeted mainly for renovation of some of the lowest performing schools in the district, Roosevelt and Jefferson High Schools. Roosevelt and Jefferson serve a combined 1,550 students, a fraction of what most other public schools serve. The District is seeking short-term one- and two-year bonds and asking taxpayers, or more specifically property owners, to pony up all but $100 million of the estimated $548 million cost.

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Cascade Newsletter – Volume 17, Number 2

The Cascade Newsletter for November 2010 has just been released.  Read about Oregon’s Budget Crisis, the failures of the Oregon Health Plan, School choice, the Children’s Scholarship Fund, and much more!

Click Here to download a copy.

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Unions’ School Funding Fears Are Unfounded, Study Finds

Christina MartinQuickPoint!
 

[audio:QuickPoint11-10-10Christina.mp3]

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By Christina Martin

Online charter schools offer kids even in the far corners of Oregon the chance to receive a public education tailored to their individual needs. Yet many districts and union representatives oppose Oregon’s virtual charter schools, claiming they drain money from local districts.

Due to these complaints, Oregon’s legislature will consider allowing school districts to deny additional students access to virtual charter schools if 3% of district students have already enrolled in the online option.

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O&C Lands: “Living Capital” for Rural Oregon Counties

Karla Kay EdwardsCascade Commentary

O&C Lands: “Living Capital” for Rural Oregon Counties
By Karla Kay Edwards

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Oregon has been in an economic recession since 2008, but rural Oregon has been struggling for much longer. No single factor can be blamed for the economic downward spiral of rural Oregon, but changes in the management philosophy of our 18 million acres of federal forestlands in Oregon have played a significant part. Many rural communities have been stuck in the conundrum of trying to address chronic high unemployment and poverty without access to significant portions of the abundant renewable natural resources surrounding their communities.

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Press Release: Online Charter Schools increase district Funding per student

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Christina Martin
Cascade Policy Institute
Tel.: 503-242-0900
Fax: 503-242-3822
E-mail: Christina@cascadepolicy.org

Online Charter Schools increase district Funding per student

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PORTLAND – A student transfer to an online charter school can enable the student’s home district, and the charter schools’ sponsoring district, to spend more money per traditional public school student, according to a study released today by Cascade Policy Institute.

“Virtual charter schools have very little impact on districts’ funding overall, and will usually even increase per student spending for students in district schools,” says Eric Fruits, Ph.D., the author of the report. Fruits, an economist, is president of Economics International Corp.

Key findings of the report, Fiscal Impacts of Oregon Online Charter Schools, include:
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Report: Online Charter Schools increase district Funding per student


Online Charter Schools increase district Funding per student
by Eric Fruits, Ph D
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Executive Summary

Online or “virtual” schools educate students using lessons delivered via computer to students’ homes. Oregon charter schools receive a lower level of state funding than non-charter public schools. Even so, online charter schools attract criticism regarding their funding. Some critics complain that charter schools draw funding away from traditional schools.

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John tells TriMet Board, “Milwaukie Light Rail: You Will Own the Problem”

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

TriMet Board Meeting is currently considering Resolution 10-11-57 which would be a thumbs up to move forward with the Milwaukie Light Rail project as planned. John Charles provided the below testimony in response to this resolution. This resolution is scheduled for Wednesday.

****

Members of the Board:

Resolution 10-11-57 must be considered within the context of TriMet’s current financial crisis.

There are two major cost drivers for TriMet: employee compensation and capital projects. Most of you can say that the payroll costs you now face were negotiated years ago and you have simply inherited the problem. However, if you approve this resolution and commit yourselves to new light rail service at a construction cost of $210 million per mile, you will own the problem.  And I see no way of solving your financial crisis if you have unsustainable costs in both operations and capital expansion.

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Resetting Oregon’s Budget and Recharging Our Economy

Steve Buckstein
Cascade Commentary

Resetting Oregon’s Budget and Recharging Our Economy

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by Steve Buckstein

Oregon voters didn’t go as far as voters nationally this month turning out incumbent politicians, but we did replace a number of big-government state legislators with more fiscally conservative ones.

Reducing government spending is a big issue nationally, and a virtual necessity in Oregon due to our balanced budget requirement. Cascade and Americans for Prosperity-Oregon published our answer to this challenge last month in our report, “Facing Reality: Ideas to Reset Oregon’s Budget and Recharge its Economy.”

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Founder’s Statement: What voters said on Tuesday

Steve Buckstein

by Steve Buckstein

The voters have spoken.

Nationally, Democrats were swept out of the House in record numbers. Republicans easily seized control of that legislative body and came close to doing the same in the Senate. Does that mean Americans want to be governed now by the Republicans? No, not according to national pollster Scott Rasmussen. In his Monday Wall Street Journal column, Rasmussen noted that voters were voting against the party in power, not for its opponent. (more…)

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Christina Martin on Populations TV

On October 15th, Christina Martin debated education reform, school choice, and charter schools with OEA Vice President Hannah Vaandering.

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Renewable Energy Via Freedom, Not Force

Todd Wynn

Renewable Energy Via Freedom, Not Force

By Todd Wynn

This article was published as a guest column on EarthTechling.com.

Many believe the free market and renewable energy are at odds. Renewable energy advocates proclaim fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy landscape, even if consumers perceive them to be rife with environmental issues. This belief has driven political leaders to subsidize renewable energy development, mandate utilities to provide renewable energy options, and force citizens to purchase them. The free-market stance looks at the situation differently.

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Measure 76, Just Another Money Grab

Measure 76 will take a law which sunsets in 2014 and turn it into a constitutional amendment reserving in perpetuity 15% of lottery proceeds for water, parks and wildlife programs. Approved in 1998, the original measure was intended to fix a dilapidated park system and improve watersheds throughout Oregon. Today, many of the measure’s original objectives have been accomplished, raising the question of whether any government program can ever end.

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Cascade in the News: John Charles on KATU

In this KATU segment aired last Friday (10/15), John Charles predicts a downward spiral for TriMet if it continues to award expensive benefits to their employees.  Click here to watch the clip.

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Intel-ligent Stimulus

Christina Martin
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint10-20-10Christina.mp3]

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By Christina Martin

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Intel announced this week that it will bring almost 7,000 new jobs to Oregon by expanding in Hillsboro. That is 7,000 individuals who will be paying taxes and spending money in Oregon. This is unusually good news in this time of economic trouble and high unemployment.

But why did Intel choose Oregon when it could build anywhere? Especially when certain Oregon taxes are significantly higher than taxes in many other states. Intel has a number of special tax deals with the state of Oregon and local governments that allow it to keep a competitive edge in a world marketplace. It gets special tax exemptions on much of its property and equipment. Furthermore, most of its income is also exempt from Oregon’s corporate taxes because the company sells most of its products outside of the state. Yet, even many who a year ago claimed that Oregon’s businesses aren’t paying their “fair share” will be encouraged by today’s news. That’s because 7,000 private sector jobs will breathe fresh life into the area. (more…)

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Analysis of Measure 26-119

$125 Million in General Obligation Bonds for TriMet
By John A. Charles, Jr.
October 11, 2010

Measure 26-119 is being billed by TriMet as a bond measure to help improve bus service for handicapped riders and the elderly. Indeed, at the August meeting of the TriMet board, roughly a dozen handicapped individuals were brought in by the TriMet staff to testify in support of the measure. After a short discussion and virtually no due diligence, the TriMet board voted unanimously to place the measure on the November ballot.

However, a careful reading of the ballot title indicates that bond funds will not be restricted to bus improvements. TriMet management will have full discretion to spend the funds on any capital project. Moreover, the bus projects TriMet is promising to undertake with these funds will only cost $82 million at most, leaving $43 million leftover for undesignated uses.

Given that the TriMet staff announced in July that federal funding for the Milwaukie light rail project will only be 50%, rather than the hoped-for 60%, it’s clear why this ballot measure was rushed to the board for the August meeting. There is a high probability that bond revenues will be used to backfill any shortfall in local match money for both the Milwaukie light rail project and the Lake Oswego-to-Portland streetcar project.

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Facing Reality

By Americans for Prosperity and Cascade Policy Institute

Download the Full Report Here

The immediate effects of the most recent recession have hit Oregon especially hard. Declining incomes, diminished job opportunities and depressed property values have stalled spending and shrunk savings. In addition to these immediate effects are the longer-term effects that are just now being projected. State government in Oregon will emerge from the recession with reduced revenues and a reduced potential for economic growth to sustain the rates of state government spending growth enacted prior to the recession. The most recent revenue forecast projects general fund revenues to be $1.27 billion lower than forecast at the end of the 2009 legislative session. Last year, Oregon Governor Kulongoski declared, “Oregon cannot continue to fund public services at the levels funded today.” Rather than make minor revisions, Governor Kulongoski argued a “reset” is necessary, charging that “we must re-think the way we deliver the services provided by state government.”

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Private Scholarships Bring Kids Hope Today

Kathryn Hickok

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint10-13-10Kathryn.mp3]


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by Kathryn Hickok

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This month’s film opening of Waiting for “Superman” has put the spotlight on low-income parents trying to break cycles of poverty and low achievement by sending their kids to charter schools. Sadly, these children face a lottery process that makes their futures dependent on a roll of the dice.

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Children’s Scholarship Fund Kids Aren’t Waiting for Superman!

Kathryn Hickok

Children’s Scholarship Fund Kids Aren’t Waiting for Superman!

by Kathryn Hickok

October’s nationwide opening of the new film Waiting for “Superman” is igniting new interest in the desperate desire of thousands of low-income parents to get their kids out of failing, one-size-fits-all public schools into better-performing charter schools. The five children poignantly profiled in the film face barriers to their dreams in the form of too few charter school seats and a lottery acceptance process that makes their futures dependent on a roll of the dice.

Charter schools are fast becoming a vital education option for thousands of low-income students throughout the U.S. But immediate, viable, successful alternatives to failing public schools have existed, often right in parents’ own neighborhoods, for decades – and in much of the U.S., they pre-date the American public school system itself.

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Heritage releases video addressing Obama tax cuts

For those interested in the national debate on tax cuts, here’s an interesting video from the Heritage Foundation.

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Waiting for Superman

Steve Buckstein

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[audio:QuickPoint10-5-10Steve.mp3]

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by Steve Buckstein

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The movie Waiting for “Superman” is this year’s An Inconvenient Truth. Produced by the same man, it lets Americans come face-to-face with students condemned to a terrible public education unless they are lucky enough to literally win a charter school seat in a public lottery.

On its own, the movie will create devastatingly negative publicity for failing public schools. However, it is accompanied by the recent announcement that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will donate $100 million to help improve the notoriously bad Newark, New Jersey public school system. Zuckerberg says he’s giving the money because he believes in Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

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GovDocs adds Portland salary information

Ever wondered how much Portland government officials are compensated? TheOregonPolitico.com has just launched a new Portland salary database for their GovDoc website.

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The Oregon Health Plan: A Policy Placebo

Cascade Commentary

The Oregon Health Plan: A Policy Placebo
by Eric Fruits

The Oregon Health Plan has been called a “bold experiment” designed to expand health insurance to Oregon’s low-income residents. Its promoters promised the impossible: To expand health insurance coverage while simultaneously controlling costs and fostering provider participation. These promises would be met by the explicit rationing of care through a prioritized list of conditions and treatments. However, like the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, Oregon’s bold experiment has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole. In this way, the experiment has failed.

Expanding coverage. When John Kitzhaber first proposed the Oregon Health Plan in the late 1980s, he claimed that nearly 20 percent of Oregonians did not have health insurance, a claim that state agencies have echoed ever since. Unbeknownst to them, however, their data was incorrect. Revised estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau show that between 1987 and 1989, only 14.5 percent of Oregonians were uninsured, a percentage that was not much different from the U.S. as a whole. Indeed, census data show that the rate of uninsured during the life of the Oregon Health Plan has not been significantly different from the U.S. as a whole. In the end, one cannot confidently conclude that the Oregon Health Plan had any significant and sustained impact on reducing the number of uninsured as a share of Oregon’s population.

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Owls and Grouse and Wolves, Oh My!

Karla Kay Edwards

Cascade Commentary

Owls and Grouse and Wolves, Oh My!
by Karla Kay Edwards

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State and federal endangered species listings have greatly influenced the economies and culture of Oregon’s communities for decades. Ironically, they have had relatively little success in actually influencing the species they want to recover. Still, government agencies refuse to abandon their monocular vision of individual species recovery. Broader policy objectives and market-oriented approaches would allow the integration of management decisions which address multiple species and other surrounding issues that hinder recovery. This can be achieved by returning the power of conservation to local and private entities that are more effective stewards of the environment.

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A Thousand Paper Cuts

Karla Kay Edwards

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[audio:QuickPoint9-28-10Karla.mp3]

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by Karla Kay Edwards

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Oregon businesses face death by a thousand paper cuts. When taken independently, individual government regulations might seem fairly innocuous. But when layered with the cumulative regulatory burdens they face, businesses find themselves buried alive by paperwork and fees.

Two cases in point:

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Unemployment Accounts: A True “Benefit” for Most Oregonians

Christina Martin
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint9-22-10Christina.mp3]

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By Christina Martin

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Owning assets is a powerful key to getting ahead and staying ahead. Assets provide stability and allow individuals opportunities for investment. They also change the way people behave. According to research, people tend to think in longer time frames and to have more hope for the future once they acquire something significant that they can call their own.

Unfortunately, government safety nets help low-income citizens primarily through income transfers. These programs discourage people from building assets, penalizing participants who save too much.

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John Charles testimony for the 9/22 TriMet board meeting

John A. Charles, Jr.
Subject: TM Resolution 10-09-44

Members of the Board:

I will not be able to attend the board meeting tomorrow. Therefore I wish to enter the following comments into the record today regarding TM Resolution 10-09-44:

There is considerable risk in purchasing this property because it is unlikely that the Milwaukie LRT line will ever get built.  Notwithstanding the oft-made claim by Mr. McFarlane that TriMet is considered to be “an A student” by FTA officials, TriMet has clearly been defrauding the federal government by taking capital grants for rail projects without operating them successfully for 20 years, as required by law. In May 2009 TriMet announced that service on the Green Line would be cut before it ever opened. Service was cut again earlier this month. Cuts have also been made on other federally-subsidized rail lines. Until TriMet restores service on those lines, they remain out of compliance with past funding agreements. Why would FTA spend even more money on TriMet under these circumstances?

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The Oregon Health Plan: A Policy Placebo

Cascade Commentary

The Oregon Health Plan: A Policy Placebo
By Eric Fruits, Ph.D

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The Oregon Health Plan has been called a “bold experiment” designed to expand health insurance to Oregon’s low-income residents. Initially, the experiment had bipartisan support. The plan’s chief architect was John Kitzhaber, a Democratic state senator turned governor who is currently running for a third term as governor. The plan’s chief advocate in Washington, D.C. was Republican Senator Bob Packwood. Its promoters promised the impossible: To expand health insurance coverage while simultaneously controlling costs and fostering provider participation. These promises would be met by the explicit rationing of care through a prioritized list of conditions and treatments. The rationing plan generated international headlines, and the rollout of the plan prompted physicians and politicians from around the world to visit Oregon to see the bold experiment in action. However, like the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, Oregon’s bold experiment has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole. In this way, the experiment has failed.

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The Failure of the Oregon Health Plan

Steve Buckstein

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[audio:QuickPoint9-14-10Steve.mp3]

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by Steve Buckstein

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A new report by Cascade Policy Institute looks at how well the Oregon Health Plan met its promised goals. Launched in 1994, the Oregon Health Plan sought to use a prioritized list of conditions and treatments to simultaneously expand coverage, control costs and foster provider participation in the state’s Medicaid system for low-income residents. By explicitly rationing care, the plan was called a “bold experiment” and was supported by political leaders of both major parties.

Now, sixteen years later, the report’s authors find that:
“[L]ike the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, the Oregon Health Plan has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole.”

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Unemployment Accounts: A Saving Opportunity

Christina Martin

Cascade Commentary

Unemployment Accounts: A Saving Opportunity
by Christina Martin

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After multiple extensions by Congress, many unemployed workers now can receive unemployment benefits for nearly two years. These extensions may bring some individuals a sigh of relief, but they are a cause for concern for the larger economy. A recent JPMorgan Chase study claims that unemployment insurance extensions actually have raised unemployment by 1.5 percentage points. Dr. Robert Barro, a Harvard professor, recently claimed that the extensions have raised unemployment as much as 2.7 percentage points.

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The Oregon Health Plan: A “Bold Experiment” That Failed

For immediate release

Contact Steve Buckstein
(503) 242-0900
steven@cascadepolicy.org

The Oregon Health Plan:  A “Bold Experiment” That Failed (download here)

Cascade Policy Institute has released a new report on how well the Oregon Health Plan met its promised goals.

Conceived in the late 1980s, the Oregon Health Plan has been called a “bold experiment” designed to expand health insurance to Oregon’s low-income residents. It relied on explicit rationing of care through a prioritized list of conditions and treatments.

Launched in 1994, the OHP sought simultaneously to expand coverage, control costs, and foster provider participation.

Sixteen years later, report author Dr. Eric Fruits concludes that:

“[L]ike the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, the Oregon Health Plan has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole.”

Dr. Fruits makes three major findings about the goals of the Oregon Health Plan:

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Back to School with the Children’s Scholarship Fund

Kathryn Hickok

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint9-8-10Kathryn.mp3]

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by Kathryn Hickok

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This week 29,000 lower-income children nationwide start classes in private and parochial schools, thanks to the Children’s Scholarship Fund. Since 1999 the Children’s Scholarship Fund has empowered more than 111,000 children to receive a quality education in schools chosen by their parents or guardians.

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Solid Foundations Mean More Graduations

Kathryn Hickok
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-1-10.mp3]

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By Kathryn Hickok

Solid Foundations Mean More Graduations

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Did you know that students who drop out of high school are three times as likely to face unemployment, earn less than half the average salary of a college graduate, and are 47 times more likely to end up incarcerated than college graduates?

In Oregon, a third of public high school students do not earn a standard high school diploma in four years. What if you could do one simple thing to increase a lower-income child’s likelihood of high school graduation?

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This is a "told you so" story about Measures 66 & 67 …

Steve Buckstein

This is a “told you so” story about Measures 66 & 67 …

by Steve Buckstein

In December 2009, Cascade Policy Institute published a research report by Randall Pozdena, Ph.D. and Eric Fruits, Ph.D. forecasting the impacts of tax increase Measures 66 and 67 on Oregon employment.

The study was based on thorough research of peer-reviewed literature and a quantitative analysis of taxes and economic growth across the U.S. and over a long period of time. They concluded that the tax measures would have a significant negative impact on Oregon’s employment picture, as shown in Exhibit 1 on page 7 of their report.

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Reclaim Oregon’s Forests: We Can Manage

Ben Shelton
Cascade Commentary

Reclaim Oregon’s Forests: We Can Manage

By Ben Shelton

Federal ownership of Oregon’s forests has failed. Oregon, like other Western states, has relied on federal agencies to manage the majority of its land. But it is now clear this century-long experiment has crippled our forests and rural communities. In spite of these hardships, federal bureaucrats add insult to injury with reports like the one released in late July by the Western Oregon Task Force, which offered “too little, too late,” according to Oregon’s congressional delegation. If Oregonians want this to change, we must abandon our deep-rooted faith in federal agencies, reclaim our forests, and manage what is ours.

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Oregon School Districts Restrict Choice for Special Education Students

Olivia Wolcott
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint8-23-10Olivia.mp3]

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By Olivia Wolcott

Oregon School Districts Restrict Choice for Special Education Students

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In Oregon public schools, every special education student receives an Individualized Education Program (IEP), designed to provide the child with an education in the “least restrictive environment” possible. However, Oregon school districts restrict the path to success for many special education students, especially in the case of virtual charter schools.

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Proposed Charges Stifle Growth

Ben Shelton
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by Ben Shelton

Proposed Charges Stifle Growth

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It’s fair to say growth should pay for itself. Yet, Portland city planners seem more and more willing to curtail development before it even begins.

Next year the city plans to impose two new transportation overlay charges in the Portland State University and Central Eastside districts. These new impact fees, which will be in addition to citywide transportation fees, will effectively double the transportation charges for development.

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Biomass: Boon or Boondoggle?

Karla Kay Edwards

Cascade Commentary

Biomass: Boon or Boondoggle?
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by Karla Kay Edwards

As Oregon communities struggle through this recession, they are looking for an economic “silver bullet” to help them survive and to become a foundation for future economic prosperity. Renewable energy has been thought to be one of those “silver bullets,” due to Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio mandate and the vast amount of government funds devoted to these energy technologies. With Oregon’s expansive forestlands, woody biomass, at first glance, seems to present an opportunity both to put more people to work in rural communities and to provide a renewable energy source.

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August 19th U-Choose Public Education – Cost and Quality and Teachers Unions

U-Choose has scheduled another great issues forum you will not want to miss! Come here our own Christina Martin speak!

Public Education- Cost, Quality, and Teachers Unions

Thursday August 19, 6:30PM- 9:00PM
Crowne Plaza
14811 Kruse Oaks Blvd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Bring a friend (and students) and get informed and up to date on this issue, voice your opinion and mobilize!

Speakers:

Christina MartinBill Sizemore, Oregon Taxpayers United, Bill@OTU.org, www.BillSizemore.com, will address the Oregon Education Association, their “strong arm” tactics and the real motivation for demands to increase funding for Oregon public schools!

Christina Martin, Cascade Policy Institute, Christina@cascadepolicy.org, www.cascadepolicy.org, will address the cost and quality of public schools and how your tax dollars are being spent and what students are and aren’t learning!

To view the flyer, click below.

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Lemonade Stand Lessons

Lemonade Stand Lessons

by Steve Buckstein

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In this persistent recession, it’s supposed to be all about jobs…jobs…jobs. But now, thanks to the budding entrepreneurial efforts of one seven-year-old girl, many people in the Portland metro area are focused not so much on jobs as they are on the limits of state power to restrict business activity.

It all came down on July 29 when an Oregon City mother, Maria, and her daughter Julie set up a lemonade stand at the “Last Thursday” monthly art fair in Northeast Portland. Julie wanted to earn some summer spending money, and her mother realized that setting up at the busy art fair rather than in front of their home in Oregon City meant many more potential customers for her “little capitalist” (my term, not theirs).

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Vote for Hines, Oregon!

Karla Kay Edwards

Vote For Hines Oregon!

By Karla Kay Edwards

The economies of rural Oregon communities have been struggling for years, but the resourcefulness and resiliency of those communities keep them moving forward.

One example of resourcefulness is the volunteer fire department of Hines, Oregon. They have two fire engines with a combined age of 62 years. They desperately need to retire the 1973 fire engine they endearingly refer to as “Barney,” but they are simply unable to raise the $250,000 to replace it. Between the Hines and Burns volunteer fire departments, they cover the entire 10,000+ square miles of Harney County, so needless to say, they need a reliable vehicle to actually cover such a vast area.

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Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland: “Giving Parents a Choice, Giving Children a Chance”

Kathryn Hickok

Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland: “Giving Parents a Choice, Giving Children a Chance”

By Kathryn Hickok
“Dear Angel, words cannot express the gratitude I feel towards you, and the wonderful opportunity you have helped my children with. They are surrounded by people that help them achieve their potential.” – Danielle

Did you know that a privately funded scholarship program here in Oregon helps low-income kids get a “hand up” in life through a better education? CSF-Portland has been a lifeline for more than 600 children in our community, and we need your support this summer to keep 34 kids in their schools in September.

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Unemployment Insurance Fact Sheet

Christina Martin Unemployment Insurance Fact Sheet

by Christina Martin

This piece accompanies an earlier report by Christina Martin, found here.

Download a PDF of this Fact Sheet

Unemployment Insurance Facts

Unemployment Insurance (UI) needs reform. It is inefficient and unfair for many workers. For the minority of workers eligible to receive benefits, the system encourages temporary lay-offs and discourages workers from finding employment.

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Unemployment Accounts Would Benefit Most Oregonians

Rebecca Steele
QuickPoint!

Unemployment Accounts Would Benefit Most Oregonians
by Rebecca Steele
The recent federal extension of unemployment insurance benefits, which will allow the unemployed to get benefits for more than 2 years, is a misguided attempt by the United States Senate to aid unemployed workers. In reality, it will not serve as an economic stimulus and does little to help the unemployed, who really need jobs. According to a recent study for JP Morgan Chase, unemployment benefits extensions alone have raised the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points during this recession, a figure that should make legislators think twice before perpetuating a broken system.

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Why Must Schools Fail Before Parents Can Choose Charters?

Olivia Wolcott Cascade Commentary
Why Must Schools Fail Before Parents Can Choose Charters?
by Olivia Wolcott and Becca Steele
Becca Steele

On August 2, 2010, 77 public schools in Oregon were sanctioned for missing federal performance targets two years in a row—more schools than ever before. These schools now must offer students free tutoring or priority rights to transfer to another school. Education, sadly, has become such a highly politicized issue that only when schools fail are students free to pursue other educational options, most notably public charter schools. Students in non-failing schools, however, do not have this same freedom. The politicization of public charter schools by elected and appointed officials, politicians and the state teachers’ unions has effectively stifled educational choice and the growth of charter schools.

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GovDocs adds Oregon state agency expenditure information

Ever wondered where different Oregon government agencies spend their money? Or how much money different agencies spend with out of state firms? TheOregonPolitico.com has just launched a new agency expenditure database for their GovDoc website.

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Level Playing Field Equals Loss of Economic Freedoms

Karla Kay Edwards
Cascade Commentary

Level Playing Field Equals Loss of Economic Freedoms 

by Karla Kay Edwards

Download PDF Here

An important discussion is taking place in Oregon among counties and agricultural interests regarding regulating activities allowed on farmlands, especially on lands zoned as Exclusive Farm Use (EFU). During the 2010 Special Legislative Session, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1055, which addressed the ability of wineries to sell incidental items and services in conjunction with the winery as long as they do not exceed 25% of on-site sales income.

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Unemployment accounts would be better for most Oregonians than traditional unemployment insurance

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2010

Contact
Christina Martin, Asset Ownership Project Director
Cascade Policy Institute
503-242-0900
Christina@cascadepolicy.org

Unemployment accounts would be better for most Oregonians than traditional unemployment insurance

By Christina Martin

PORTLAND, Ore. – Ninety-seven percent of Oregonians would benefit by switching from a standard unemployment insurance system to a system of unemployment savings accounts, according to a study released today by the Cascade Policy Institute.

The study, Unemployment Accounts: A Better Way of Protecting the Unemployed, was completed by economists Stéphane Pallage, Ph.D, chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Quebec in Montreal, and Christian Zimmermann, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut.

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Will Oregon’s Virtual Charter Schools Survive?

Christina Martin

Cascade Commentary

Will Oregon’s Virtual Charter Schools Survive?
Download the PDF

By Christina Martin

For more than a year, virtual (online) charter schools have been on the defensive against threats of crippling regulations. Last year, the Oregon Education Association (the state’s largest teachers union), proposed its “top-priority” bill (Senate Bill 767) that would have effectively shut down these innovative schools if it had been fully adopted. The Oregon Legislature responded by putting significant restrictions on the schools and capping student enrollment through 2011. The resulting bills also guarantee that the schools’ futures will remain uncertain for at least another year.

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Sweet Sixteen?

Laura Lewis

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint8-3-10Laura.mp3]

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by Laura Lewis

Sweet Sixteen?

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While John Kitzhaber is gearing up for November’s gubernatorial election, this year marks the sixteenth birthday of the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), Oregon’s innovative prioritized list system which Kitzhaber spearheaded as president of the Oregon Senate in the early 1990s. The prioritized list, a statement of conditions and treatments ranked by effectiveness and cost, was designed to contain costs while providing health care to more individuals.

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Ending Transit Welfare as We Know It

Andrew Hillard

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint7-27-10Andrew.mp3]

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by Andrew Hillard

Ending Transit Welfare as We Know It

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While some history lectures put people to sleep, TriMet’s past should wake you up.

In 1971, TriMet was subsidized $38 for every Tri-County citizen. Since then, this figure has increased sixfold. In 2009, TriMet received $231 per resident.

Not surprisingly, as subsidies go up, TriMet’s fare revenues have gone down. Last year, customer ticket sales only accounted for 17.8% of TriMet’s operating expenses.

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Oregon Politico launches GovDocs

How much does the government pay public employees? How much do various organizations and businesses spend on lobbying every year? TheOregonPolitico.com has just launched the GovDoc website committed to providing public records in an easily accessible digital format. Head over and take it for a test drive.

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Children Take Backseat to Union Dues

Olivia Wolcott

QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint7-21-10Olivia.mp3]

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By Olivia Wolcott

Children Take Backseat to Union Dues

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This summer, education funding and program cuts have had parents, teachers and voters clamoring for more money to pour into Oregon’s struggling public education system. The Oregon Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, claims that school budget cuts show voters and politicians don’t understand that educational reform and innovation come at a high price. However, the OEA has steadfastly opposed the educational innovation of cost-saving virtual charter schools. In fact, the union has called the crippling regulation of these online schools its “top priority.”

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Last Chance to Signup for Celebrate Freedom Event!

Don’t forget to reserve your spot for our Friedman dinner on July 30th. RSVP by July 24 to Deanne Kastine 503.242.0900 or deanne@cascadepolicy.org.

For more information visit the event homepage.

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Green Investment Failure

Rebecca Steele
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint7-14-10.mp3]

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by Rebecca Steele

Green Investment Failure

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Building “green” is all the rage in Portland. Eco-roofs and solar panels have become routine, and now the goal is for “net-zero” buildings that consume less energy or water than they produce.

However, while the idea is green, expect red. The City of Portland’s last attempt to promote net-zero construction ended in a subsidized spending spree.

In 2005, the Green Investment Fund was established as a competitive grant program, awarding money for five years to spur green building. Enormous government subsidies were required for most grantees. DaVinci Arts Middle School, the only project actually to achieve net-zero energy, was realized because of $500,000 in community-donated services. The June Key Delta House, a proposed net-zero community center, received over $400,000 in PDC grants and loans. The Blanchet House of Hospitality, also hoping for net-zero energy, is enabled by a PDC $2 million grant and land swap. Other subsidized Green Fund projects failed miserably. Construction never began on the million-dollar Shizen condominiums or the Kenton Living Building, both net-zero energy contenders.

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PDC’s Seeds Unlikely to Grow

Ben Shelton

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[audio:QuickPoint7-7-10Ben.mp3]

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PDC’s Seeds Unlikely to Grow

by Ben Shelton

You may remember Sam Adams’ February promise to give $500,000 to small businesses around Portland. Currently, a five-member board, appointed by the Portland Development Commission, is seeking an investment manager for the Portland Small Business Seed Fund. Public venture capital programs, however, don’t pay; they ignore real business solutions and starve money from the critical functions of government.

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What Level of Government Maximizes Growth?

How much government is the right amount? A variety of studies have found that economic performance is at its greatest when the size of government is somewhere between 15 percent and 25 percent of gross domestic product. Right now, the U.S. government has a GDP of 40 percent—which is twice the optimal level for maximizing growth. The relationship between the size of government and economic growth is called the Rhan Curve, and is discussed further in the video below from Dan Mitchell at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

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State Board Continues Debating Virtual Charter School Enrollment Cap

Olivia Wolcott

 

Cascade Commentary

 

Two of Cascade’s research associates, Olivia Wolcott and Rebecca Steele, advocated fewer regulations and a more open enrollment rule for virtual charter schools, as part of an hour of public testimony heard by the board at the June 24 meeting.

State Board Continues Debating Virtual Charter School Enrollment Cap

by Olivia Wolcott and Christina Martin

On June 24, the Oregon State Board of Education met to further discuss agenda items including the issue of virtual charter schools. Virtual charter schools have been on the Board’s agenda since the legislature passed House Bill 3660 in February 2010. HB 3660 instructed the State Board of Education to “develop a proposed governance model for virtual public schools, including virtual public charter schools,” and “review the appropriate levels and methods of funding for virtual public schools, including virtual public charter schools” (HB 3660, Section 9.2). A work group met May 27 and prepared a “straw proposal” that the entire Board examined during the June 24 meeting.

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Todd on Populations

Todd Wynn

Todd Wynn on Population’s

Check out Todd Wynn discussing the BP oil spill, energy policy, and climate change on Populations TV.

Special thanks to Populations. You can check out other interviews like this at http://www.populationsprogram.com/

 

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Critical Court Rulings Decide 2nd Amendment Rights

Karla Kay Edwards
Cascade Commentary

Critical Court Rulings Decide 2nd Amendment Rights

by Karla Kay Edwards

Download PDF Here

Within the past week we have enjoyed a big stride forward in the protection of our Second Amendment rights with the U.S. Supreme Court decision on McDonald v. City of Chicago and suffered one small stride backward in the decision Mail Tribune, Inc. v. Winters by the Oregon Court of Appeals. Both are critical legal decisions for gun rights supporters, but both will be subject to further litigation.

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New TriMet Lines Expand Liabilities

Laura Lewis

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[audio:QuickPoint6-30-10Laura.mp3]

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by Laura Lewis

New TriMet Lines Expand Liabilities

Download the PDF here

TriMet has doubled its transit police force from 29 to 58 officers during the past two and a half years. Despite these security increases, light rail continues to attract crime. The newly opened Green Line to Clackamas Town Center has experienced a 32% increase in reported crime and a 56% increase in calls for police service since the light rail opened in 2009. The addition of police forces will cost an added $140,000 per year per officer, or a total of $43 million for 58 officers over the next 5 years, adding to TriMet’s current $27 million budget shortfall.

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Cascade Newsletter Volume 17, Number 1

Check out the latest Cascade Newsletter with articles on Health Care, State Post Employment Benefits, Climate Change, School Choice, Redistricting, and a recap on the impacts of Measures 66 & 67.

Click here to Download

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Steve talks job loss on Lars Larson

Steve Buckstein

Steve talks private sector job loss on Lars Larson
Check out Steve Buckstein on the Lars Larson show on KXL (750am) radio in Portland from June 22, 2010. In this segment, Steve talks about how the number of private sector jobs are down in Oregon since 2000 but government jobs are up.

[audio:BucksteinLars062210.mp3]

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The non-fiction thriller "The Overton Window" by Glenn Beck has public policy think tank roots

As you may know, popular and controversial talk host Glenn Beck just released “The Overton Window,” a novel that’s already topped the bestseller list. What you may not know is that the book’s title comes from a model of policy change developed by the Mackinac center’s vice president, Joe Overton, in the mid-1990s. After Overton’s untimely death in 2003, their current president, Joe Lehman, developed a formal Overton Window presentation to train hundreds of think tank executives around the country and the world.

The Overton Window of Political Possibility is a model developed to explain public policy change. When public policies in a given area, such as education or labor, are arranged from freest to least free, only a relatively narrow window of options will be considered politically acceptable. This window of politically acceptable policies is not defined primarily by what politicians would prefer; rather, it is defined by what they believe they can support and still win re-election. Hence, the window shifts to include new policies or exclude old ones not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them.

For more information on this concept, visit Mackinac’s Website.

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Steve talks failing schools on Victoria Taft

Steve Buckstein

Steve talks failing schools on Victoria Taft

Check out Steve Buckstein talking failing schools, school choice, and Jefferson High School on the Victoria Taft show, KPAM radio, June 22, 2010.

[audio:SteveTaft6-22-10.mp3]

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State Board of Education Continues to Look at Virtual Charter School Issue

Olivia Wolcott

 

State Board of Education Continues to Look at Virtual Charter School Issue

By Olivia Wolcott and Christina Martin

 

At its May 21 meeting, the Oregon State Board of Education discussed the issue of virtual charter schools, specifically Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA), after hearing testimony from ORVA parents.  The Board will continue its discussion on Thursday, June 24, when they will accept further public testimony and review proposals to address the issues raised in the May 21st meeting.

Click Continue Reading to view the Board’s Response

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Shedding Light on Solar Subsidies

Andrew Hillard
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[audio:QuickPoint6-23-10.mp3]

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By Andrew Hillard

Shedding Light on Solar Subsidies

If all goes as planned, July will be the start of a sunny future. Next month, Oregon Public Utilities will offer feed-in tariffs, or subsidies, for solar power. Under House Bill 3039, homeowners will be eligible to receive 55 to 65 cents for solar energy, compared to the usual cost of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. The pilot project intends to boost jobs and clean technology by subsidizing 2,500 homes over 15 years.

However, legislative forecasts, like weather predictions, are often wrong; and in this instance, the sunshine will be short lived…

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Testimony before the CRC Independent Review Committee

John A. Charles, Jr.
Cascade Commentary

Testimony before the CRC Independent Review Committee

By John Charles

Download Full Testimony Here

June 17, 2010

I wish to make two basic points tonight, related to: (1) tolling; and (2) TriMet’s financial viability

Tolling, Variable Rates, and the Portland Highway Network

For the past several years, the CRC management team has considered tolling primarily as a means of partially financing the new bridge. While there has been some modest consideration of variable toll rates, project managers have never defined the purpose of those rates (in terms of anticipated driver benefits), nor have they analyzed variable pricing within the context of the broader Portland highway network.

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Todd on Sustainability Today TV

Watch Todd Wynn discuss renewable energy, wind power, and other environmental topics on Sustainable Today TV.

Special thanks to Sustainable Today for the video!

 

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The Tax Dollar Addiction

Todd Wynn
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint6-15-10Todd.mp3]

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by Todd Wynn

The Tax Dollar Addiction

Download PDF Here

Drug addiction is tough to deal with, both for the addict and for his or her friends and family. Those around drug addicts lend or give them money and often are surprised when they use it to buy more drugs. It is important for those who care for an addict to show support, yet not enable him to make more bad decisions. This is how we need to treat our legislators.

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Forced Participation: Public Education’s Fatal Flaw

Steve Buckstein
Cascade Commentary

Forced Participation: Public Education’s Fatal Flaw

by Steve Buckstein

Download the PDF Here

The high school redesign exercise in Portland serves as a reminder of why top-down solutions are often doomed to fail. How could anyone except those at the top propose closing a popular and successful school like Benson Polytechnic? And how could anyone force families back inside the stifling brick walls of an unpopular and unsuccessful high school like Jefferson?

Fortunately, two individuals have recently come forward with surprisingly out-of-the-box statements that could open the door to some truly constructive solutions, at least for the students.

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Cascade Report: Think Twice Why Wind Power Mandates Are Wrong for the Northwest

Todd Wynn

Cascade Report: Think Twice Why Wind Power Mandates Are Wrong for the Northwest

by Todd Wynn and Eric Lowe

New report by Todd Wynn and Eric Lowe highlights the problem with the legislature picking winners and losers in the energy market.

Download the Full Report

Watch an Interview with Todd Wynn about the perils of forcing wind energy on the grid.

Click through for full report

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Hunting for Government Priorities

Karla Kay Edwards
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[audio:QuickPoint6-8-10KarlaKay.mp3]

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by Karla Kay Edwards

Hunting for Government Priorities

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Following Oregon’s startling $577 million budget shortfall, state departments must strategically refine and prioritize the core issues they need to address. What sportsmen wear is not one of them. However, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently issued a report investigating whether it should mandate that all outdoorsmen wear an observable piece of hunter orange clothing while hunting.

According to the report, bicycling is more dangerous than hunting. 1,351 bicyclists are injured for every 100,000 participants, compared to just 5 injuries per 100,000 hunting participants. Yet, bicyclists over age sixteen are not required by law to wear a helmet or reflective clothing. Cyclists are given the liberty to make those decisions themselves.

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Losing Choice in the Portland Public Redesign

Christina Martin
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint6-2-10Christina.mp3]

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By Christina Martin

Losing Choice in the Portland Public Redesign

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The Portland Public School District is considering a redesign that would close Marshall High School, convert Benson from a four-year vocational magnet into a two-year technical program, and eliminate most families’ option to transfer to other district schools. The plan is to make every neighborhood school big enough to support a wider variety of classes by keeping neighborhood children in their local schools.

This will trap many kids in schools that don’t serve their needs. Families with means will move close to the school that best fits their children’s needs. Families without means will be left behind, creating more inequity for the neediest families.

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“Public Provisions” Pitfalls

Christina Martin
Cascade Commentary

“Public Provisions” Pitfalls

By Christina Martin

Download PDF Here

Nobody likes physical pain, but often it gives us a signal that we need to change our behavior before we incur serious injury. In the sphere of social policy, government entitlements designed to avoid short-term pain too often work against natural and healthy incentives that help individuals to avoid longer-term pain. Many people will endure smaller temporary pains, work harder, save more, eat healthier and build a social network in order to avoid larger future pains like hunger or homelessness. This is not a new observation and has been commented on for thousands of years.

Our nation’s founders were well aware of the importance of incentives. In 1766 Benjamin Franklin declared in a letter to the London Chronicle that England’s poor were the most miserable in the world because England’s welfare programs had destroyed essential incentives, making people dependent on the government. He concluded after his world travels that “the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer,” but “the less [that] was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

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Testimony before the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission Regarding the TriMet Proposed FY 11 Budget

John A. Charles, Jr.
Cascade Commentary

by John A. Charles, Jr.

Testimony before the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission

Regarding the TriMet Proposed FY 11 Budget

May 25, 2010

TriMet asserts that the proposed FY 11 budget adheres to principles of good budgeting and financial planning because “revenues and expenditures are in balance” and the budget“incorporates a long term perspective” (page 2).

This is disingenuous. The only “long term perspective” being offered by TriMet is the continued practice of pushing debt payments off to the future. The problem is that eventually the future arrives, and someone has to pay. TriMet is creating a regressive, intergenerational burden by hiding more than $1.2 billion in expenses.

TriMet must confront the two major cost drivers that are out of control: (1) employee fringe benefits; and (2) rail construction projects.

Download the Full Testimony

John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Will America Go the Way of Greece?

Steve Buckstein
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint5-25-10Steve.mp3]

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by Steve Buckstein

Will America Go the Way of Greece?

How many times have you heard that America is the only industrialized country without a national health care system? Now, just as America seems to be jumping into that pond, another country may be required to jump out.

The country of Greece is so deeply in debt, and has made so many promises to its citizens that it can’t keep, that it needs a massive bailout from other nations and organizations. America is a part of the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank consortium putting up funds to help Greece weather its financial crisis.

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Time for Heavy Lifting by Gubernatorial Candidates

John A. Charles, Jr.
Time for Heavy Lifting by Gubernatorial Candidates

By John Charles

A day after their respective primary victories, John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley celebrated by conducting photo-ops. Kitzhaber visited a Portland middle school and announced a plan to “create jobs and save energy” by weatherizing Oregon schools. Dudley visited a Boys & Girls Club and talked about his ability to “work with people.”

The voters deserve a lot more substance as we move on to the general election. (more…)

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Redistricting – Partisan Power Grab

Karla Kay Edwards
QuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint5-19-10Karla.mp3]

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by Karla Kay Edwards

Redistricting – Partisan Power Grab

Partisan politics makes great news headlines but usually doesn’t lead to sound policy decisions. The redrawing of Oregon’s legislative districts, known as redistricting, is currently a very partisan process carried out by Oregon’s legislators after each U.S. Census. The redistricting process supersedes all elections and can define Oregon’s future policy path toward more government and taxes or toward free enterprise and liberty.

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You Make Too Much Money

Steve Buckstein
Cascade Commentary

You Make Too Much Money

By Steve Buckstein

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In a recent speech promoting his financial industry reform bill, President Barack Obama had what may become known as another “Joe the Plumber moment” (in which he spoke off-the-cuff about “spread(ing) the wealth around.”). This time, he said:

  • “We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.…”

Left unsaid was what the president thinks should happen to those who make “more than enough.”  Should their taxes go up? Or, should everything they earn over some arbitrary level be taken from them and redistributed to others?

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The Downside of Measure 68

Steve Buckstein
QuickPoint!

The Downside of Measure 68

By Steve Buckstein

At first glance, Measure 68 on this year’s Oregon Primary election ballot seems harmless enough. It would allow school districts to borrow money for capital improvements, including “land and other assets associated with acquisition, construction, improvement, remodeling, maintenance and repair.” The measure also would allow the state to borrow money and to match bonds approved by local voters.

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